BT/ Passkeys continue march to the mainstream with Visa, WhatsApp updates

Paradigm
Paradigm
Published in
30 min readMay 20, 2024

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Biometrics biweekly vol. 80, 6th May — 20th May

TL;DR

  • Visa has unveiled new digital products and services based on biometrics and passkeys, as it aims to address rapid changes in AI and digital identity technology
  • WhatsApp has expanded its passkey availability for all users
  • Google’s Project Gameface, presented at this week’s Google I/O event, represents a notable advancement in accessibility technology through the integration of biometric and facial recognition technologies
  • ADT uses Google Nest to let in the dog walker
  • European digital ID project offers grants for more pilots
  • QIAGEN, FBI partner to enhance forensic DNA analysis
  • AlgoFace’s facial analysis tech gets boosts from Microsoft, National Science Foundation
  • NIST fingerprint biometrics test shows gains by Innovatrics, Omnigarde
  • Biometix adds face analysis based on draft standards to the biometric assessment toolbox
  • Fingerprint Cards strikes deals for biometric wearable, IP licensing
  • Sumsub has expanded its document-free identity verification solution to Norway and Denmark
  • Biometric liveness detection platform launched by Kairos, as Brivas gets NOA for patent
  • Niobium raises $5.5M to develop fully homomorphic encryption accelerator chip
  • Australian-American biometric IDV startup Data Zoo raises over $22M to fuel expansion
  • Palm-scanning Humanity Protocol emerges as a new kid on the blockchain
  • Uniken introduces palm vein biometrics to REL-ID platform for banking security
  • Nordic and Baltic countries need better cross-border digital identity matching: NOBID
  • Bulgaria goes fully biometric in developing access control system for mass gatherings
  • Indonesia calls for biometric liveness POC with injection attack prevention
  • Kazakhstan refreshes national ID cards amid digital government push
  • Belgium launches national digital identity wallet
  • Kenya unveils ambitious digital ID, biometric passports issuance plans
  • Rwanda receiving bids for digital ID core software development
  • Chinese researchers test point cloud-based facial age estimation process
  • Study finds dorsal hand images as effective as face biometrics for age estimation
  • Biometric industry events. And more!

Biometrics Market

The Biometric system market size is projected to grow from USD 36.6 billion in 2020 to USD 68.6 billion by 2025; it is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% during the forecast period. Increasing use of biometrics in consumer electronic devices for authentication and identification purposes, the growing need for surveillance and security with the heightened threat of terrorist attacks, and the surging adoption of biometric technology in automotive applications are the major factors propelling the growth of the biometric system market.

Biometric Research & Development

Latest Research:

Chinese researchers test point cloud-based facial age estimation process

A team out of Peking University has published a paper in Science China Life Sciences on “establishing a deep learning model for age estimation using non-registered 3D face point clouds.”

A point cloud is a discrete set of data points in 3D space. A summary of the paper in TechXplore says the researchers trained their model on over 16,000 instances of 3D face point cloud data, to investigate “an approach for facial data masking that preserves age-related features using coordinate wise monotonic transformations.” The algorithm can “isolate age-related facial features from identifiable human faces” and “recognizes the rotational invariance of human faces.”

In other words, the algorithm can distort faces without changing the relative positions of basic elements, but in such a way that deep learning models can still accurately and consistently perform successful age estimation on faces in various scenarios. In testing, the method achieved an average absolute error of 2.5 years.

“Despite the immense value, the human face, as a hard biometric, is easily accessible and counters the hurdle of data security once collected or shared,” says the paper. “The occurrence of facial data leakage and spoofing events has prompted intense ethical security and privacy concerns.” The research notes that, “to date, there have been limited attempts to apply deep learning directly to 3D face point cloud data in the field of face recognition and facial expression detection.”

The team’s findings have led them to propose a facial data protection guideline, which “aims to provide a theoretical foundation for managing facial data centers or public datasets.” In conclusion, they say the study “leads to a facial data protection guideline that has the potential to broaden public access to face datasets with minimized privacy risks.”

Study finds dorsal hand images as effective as face biometrics for age estimation

Researchers at Haut.AI, a self-described “leader in responsible skincare artificial intelligence (AI) development,” have figured out how to estimate a person’s age using hand biometrics. A release positions their paper on dorsal hand image technology, published in Experimental Dermatology, as a viable alternative to age assurance methods that are dependent on face biometrics.

In “Predicting human chronological age via AI analysis of dorsal hand versus facial images: A study in a cohort of Indian females,”, a team including HautAI’s Anastasia Georgievskaya, Timur Tlyachev, Konstantin Kiselev, Konstantin Chekanov, Daniil Danko and Arseny Golodyaev finds that algorithms trained on hand images are comparable in accuracy to those that use face image, showing an average error of 4.1 and 4.7 years, respectively, in predicting chronological age.

“The correlation of predicted versus actual age is highly statistically significant using either hand or facial image datasets,” says the report. “Thus, dorsal hand images are a viable alternative to facial images for age prediction and provides a potential solution for predicting age in situations where facial images are unavailable or unsuitable, such as in forensic investigations, medical assessments or criminal suspect identification and surveillance.”

The researchers say the study has important ethical implications, particularly considering that its dataset was drawn from the Indian population to include a wide range of skin tones. A key criticism of facial recognition is the bias it has shown against people of color. Anastasia Georgievskaya, the CEO of Haut.AI, says this “has the potential to mitigate biases often associated with conventional systems.”

Beyond algorithmic bias, there are more subtle issues of privacy and identity at play.

Facial images are often considered to be more sensitive than hand images because they are more directly linked to personal identity and can reveal more personal information about an individual, such as age, sex, gender, race, ethnicity and emotions,” reads the report. “Hand images seem to be less sensitive than facial images and may be viewed as more impersonal or less revealing of personal identity.”

A key word, however, is “seem.” The researchers stress that their findings imply not only new opportunities, but also a fresh biometric vulnerability.

“The proven possibility of age prediction from hands shows these images can be a source of ethical-sensitive biomarkers. Moreover, it is possible to identify a person based on dorsal hand images as in the case of facial photographs.” In terms of risk, that means a picture of your hand is as chock full of identifiable biometric information as a selfie.

Main News:

Passkeys continue march to mainstream with Visa, WhatsApp updates

Visa has launched a new payment service, Visa Payment Passkey Service, allowing customers to authorize online payments with biometric scans on their smartphones or computers. This service is built on Visa’s own Fast Identity Online (FIDO) server and enables merchants to easily integrate it into their checkout process. Consumers can use their existing biometric authentication methods for payments after a one-time enrollment.

Visa has unveiled new digital products and services based on biometrics and passkeys, as it aims to address rapid changes in AI and digital identity technology. WhatsApp has expanded its passkey availability for all users. And the FIDO Alliance welcomes a new board member, while researchers question how airtight its security protocol really is.

In a release, Jack Forestell, Visa’s chief product and strategy officer, says the digital payments industry is at a pivotal point, and that Visa has responded with “the next generation of truly digital-native payment card experiences,” which will “bring consumers into a more customized, convenient and secure future.”

Forbes predicts that 20 percent of payments in 2024 will be made online. At its annual Payments Forum in San Francisco, Visa showcased all the ways in which it is aiming to change secure payments, from a new flexible credential to the expansion of passkeys to its Click to Pay system.

The Visa Payment Passkey Service employs biometrics and cryptography to confirm a customer’s identity and authorizes online payments with a scan of face or fingerprint biometrics. Visa says the service, which is built to the latest FIDO standards, is intended as a defense against increased fraud. Its first deployment will integrate Visa Payment Passkey Service into its Click to Pay system.

Forestell says passkeys can replace passwords or one-time codes, enabling more streamlined, secure transactions.

“There is a global desire to find commonality, interoperability and simplicity for online payments. Our passkeys, designed specifically for payments, represent a massive paradigm shift in our industry because it confirms identity without interrupting the checkout experience.”

Other digital payments products showcased at the forum include the Visa Flexible Credential, which will allow card users to access multiple accounts through a single card by toggling between options such as debit, credit and rewards points. The system is already live in Asia and will be launching with Affirm in the U.S. this summer.

As well, Visa has expanded its already wildly successful tap-to-pay program, which had reached 65 percent penetration globally by the end of 2023. Its Tap to Confirm feature simplifies identity authentication for online shopping, while Tap to Add Card increases security when adding a card into a wallet or app.

WhatsApp expands passkeys on iOS

WhatsApp has made passkeys an option for all users, following a phased rollout on Android and iOS, the latter of which had lagged behind. The latest WhatsApp for iOS 24.9.78 update, now available on the App Store, has passkeys enabled. Verification and authentication can be conducted via including facial recognition, biometrics, or a PIN stored on Apple’s passkey manager.

“Upon setting up a passkey, it will be securely stored in the iCloud Keychain, enabling users to access WhatsApp using their device passcode or biometric authentication instead of the conventional 6-digit code,” says the article.

Third-party authentication coming to Microsoft Entra ID in public preview

In an effort to bolster security measures for user identities, Microsoft Entra ID (formerly known as Azure Active Directory) is set to unveil the public preview of external authentication methods in the first half of May. This upcoming feature is designed to enable users to integrate their preferred multifactor authentication (MFA) solutions with Entra ID, marking a significant stride in enhancing identity protection.

The importance of deploying MFA is evident, with studies showcasing its effectiveness in reducing the risk of compromise by over 99.2 percent, according to research conducted by Microsoft. Recognizing the varying needs of organizations already utilizing MFA solutions, the introduction of external authentication methods aims to facilitate the seamless integration of these existing systems with Entra ID, thereby streamlining security protocols.

Digital identity providers supporting the use of external authentication by Entra include Cisco Duo, Entrust, Hypr, Ping Identity, RSA, Silverfort, Symantec, Thales and TrustBuilder.

External authentication methods serve as the successor to custom controls, offering several advantages over the previous approach. These benefits include integration with industry standards, ensuring compatibility and adherence to established norms, as well as management consistency with Entra methods, simplifying administrative processes.

In a recent blog post, Greg Kinasewitz, product manager for Microsoft Entra ID, expresses enthusiasm for the new capability, emphasizing its relevance for users seeking to leverage alternative MFA solutions alongside Entra ID’s robust functionalities, including Conditional Access and Identity Protection features.

According to Microsoft, customers utilizing Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) in tandem with other MFA solutions have voiced their desire for this functionality to facilitate a seamless transition from AD FS to Entra ID.

External authentication methods can be employed to fulfill MFA requirements specified in Conditional Access Policies, Privileged Identity Management role activations, Identity Protection risk-based policies, and Microsoft Intune device registrations. They are managed within the Entra ID authentication methods policy, ensuring uniformity in administration and user experience.

Google is letting users control apps with their facial expressions

Google’s Project Gameface, unveiled at Google I/O, uses biometric and facial recognition to allow users to navigate devices using facial gestures. Initially designed for hands-free gaming, its recent update allows developers to incorporate it into Android apps, expanding its functionality. The project uses a device’s camera and MediaPipe’s Face Landmarks Detection API to track and translate facial expressions into cursor movements. It is particularly beneficial for individuals with disabilities, offering a cost-effective solution for digital interaction. The latest enhancements include recognition of 52 facial gestures with customizable sensitivity. Google is partnering with Incluzza to explore its use in various settings beyond gaming.

European digital ID project offers grants for more pilots

The pan-European digital identity project will receive another cash infusion for its pilot programs.

The European Union has published a new call for grants for the European Union Digital Identity (EUDI) Wallet, targeting four different use cases: Business, payment and banking, travel and age verification wallets. The value of the new funding is 20 million euros (US$21.5 million).

The grants will support two more rounds of large-scale pilots designed to test the EUDI Wallet before its roll-out to EU Member States. The deadline for the application is September 24, 2024.

The deliverables include testing “the deployment of the EU Digital Identity Wallet in the priority use case, including pilots using the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure (EBSI) to support the EU Digital Identity Wallet in cross-border use cases” as well as “deploying the EU Digital Identity Wallet in national eID ecosystems by Member States,” the call notes.

The new round of grants will also focus on improving technical specifications and implementation guidelines for the wallet.

The bloc kicked off the first EUDI Wallet large-scale pilots (LSPs) last year in April with the European Commission earmarking 46 million euros (roughly US$49 million) for funding through grants. Participating in the schemes are 360 private companies and public authorities across 26 EU member states, as well as Norway, Iceland and Ukraine.

QIAGEN, FBI partner to enhance forensic DNA analysis

Human identification and forensics solutions provider QIAGEN has entered a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The objective of this collaboration is to develop a new test for QIAGEN’s QIAcuity digital PCR devices, with the aim of enhancing forensic analysis by improving the quantification of DNA in human samples.

The focus of the partnership is to create a digital PCR (dPCR) assay capable of quantifying nuclear and mitochondrial DNA concentrations simultaneously, along with male DNA, while also including indicators for degradation and inhibition. According to the company, the technology is particularly vital in forensic science, where samples often contain minimal amounts of DNA, which can be further compromised by various factors such as age or environmental conditions like soil.

Richard Price, vice president and head of the HID and forensics business at QIAGEN, emphasizes the significance of better DNA quantification in forensic science.

“Better DNA quantification will allow the FBI’s scientists and the forensic community to analyze a broader range of evidence more quickly, accurately and reliably, even from challenging samples,” he adds.

“This advance in forensic science proves the relevance of dPCR in enhancing the reliability and impact of forensic evidence in convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent.”

CRADAs facilitate collaborative research by sharing resources and expertise, aligning with the FBI’s mission to advance forensic science. Eric Pokorak, Assistant Director of the FBI laboratory division, expresses enthusiasm about the potential benefits of this novel digital PCR assay, not only for the FBI but also for other forensic laboratories.

“The FBI conducts research to develop new capabilities that advance forensic science. This novel digital PCR assay could benefit the FBI and other forensic laboratories. We are excited to collaborate with QIAGEN to evaluate the potential of this capability in forensic casework,” Pokorak notes.

QIAGEN’s QIAcuity platform utilizes nanoplates to distribute a sample across numerous partitions and simultaneously read the reaction in each one to quantify genetic traces.

AlgoFace’s facial analysis tech gets boosts from Microsoft, National Science Foundation

Call it a banner year to date for Arizona-based biometric facial analysis firm AlgoFace, which has released a trio of announcements celebrating strategic and financial wins.

First is its inclusion in the Microsoft for Startups program, which supports early-stage startups as they scale their businesses by providing Azure credits, AI services, technical and ethical support and mentorship opportunities.

“We are honored and excited to have been accepted into the Microsoft for Startups program,” says Andrew Bart, CEO of AlgoFace. “This partnership opens up a wealth of resources and expertise that will enable us to accelerate our growth and deeply engage with the Microsoft ecosystem.”

Next on the company’s list of achievements is being awarded, in February, a $150,000 grant by the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) as an Awardee of the Arizona Innovation Challenge (AIC), among the largest business plan competitions in the U.S. Now it has received an even bigger cash injection, in the form of a $275,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). A release says the money will be used in conjunction with two of AlgoFace’s patents to conduct research and development on their Face Analyzer/Semantic Search technology, “an AI-based system that can locate facial attributes in photos via descriptive text searches without requiring a probe photo.”

The firm emphasizes its ethical approach to AI development, and points to potential applications in national security, law enforcement, building safety, video search, digital asset management, spatial analytics, programmatic media, and other industries. AlgoFace VP of Partnerships, Innovation & Government Randy Gustafson says the company is excited to have been awarded the grant to further development of its patent-protected biometric technology.

Having been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from what is also known as America’s Seed Fund, AlgoFace is now eligible to apply for Phase II funding and additional supplements totaling up to $2 million.

Nordic and Baltic countries need better cross-border digital identity matching: NOBID

Nordic and Baltic countries need better identity matching solutions to make cross-border digital identity a reality, concludes a new report from the Nordic-Baltic eID collaboration (NOBID).

The report tackles the question of how citizens from multiple countries in the region can access public and private services across the border. A large number of people are currently either living, working, studying, or traveling between countries such as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. These people have created one of the largest cross-border personal datasets, carrying social benefits, health records and more.

All of these, however, are kept within individual countries’ records, often with no opportunity to identify a person by electronic identification. Currently, there are no EU-level cross-border processes to handle the situation where one person owns multiple eIDs issued or to assure that a person is successfully matched to the correct eID under different notified digital ID schemes, the report states.

“One of the main conclusions in the report is the need for better identity matching to handle challenges with cross-border digital identity,” says Dan Koivulaakso, head of the Department for Growth and Climate at the Nordic Council of Ministers. “This includes, among other things, the exchange of e-prescriptions and the recognition of professional qualifications, both of which are essential for mobility in the labor market and public services.”

As a project focused on enabling the use of national eID solutions across the Nordic and Baltic regions, NOBID has established a working group focusing on identity matching. Alongside the Cross Border Digital Services (CBDS) Programme, the group has analyzed the solutions that could solve cross-border interoperability and digital mobility in the region.

The report outlined 10 potential paths forward. One of them is “bonding,” a process in which backend systems of two countries interact to perform 1:1 biometric verification or identification as part of the identity matching process. The authors, however, conclude that among possible solutions, the eIDASNode+ is the most promising.

“eIDASNode+ should be implemented in all Nordic-Baltic countries, as a common approach, adding the other three described possibilities to that, depending on the country’s specific needs,” the research concludes.

“Every foreign identity will be assigned a local personal identification number. After authentication with eID mean[s] through eIDAS node e-services approach local identity matching service for retrieval of local personal identification number of user,” the report explains.

Other promising processes include Easy_EAA, QuickFix and Hard_EAA.

The report also highlights the need to update and harmonize the eIDAS regulation, which governs electronic identification and trust services in the EU.

NIST fingerprint biometrics test shows gains by Innovatrics, Omnigarde

Innovatrics, a company specializing in multimodal biometric solutions, has scored the best performance with its fingerprint template generator in the NIST MINEX III evaluation. The company’s latest submission to the program showcases the effectiveness of its algorithms in creating digital representations of fingerprint minutiae. The results show these templates provide high accuracy and ensure interoperability with other systems, Innovatrics says.

The NIST MINEX III report puts Innovatrics in the top 3 for template matching accuracy, where it has consistently ranked. This essential component of the system compares a newly scanned fingerprint template with pre-stored templates to determine if there is a match. The effectiveness of this process for fast and accurate identification is typically evaluated on larger databases, such as those used in Automated Biometric Identification Systems (ABIS).

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) runs the ongoing Minutiae Interoperability Exchange (MINEX) test program in the United States. The program aims to evaluate the performance and interoperability of fingerprint-based biometric systems, focusing on ensuring compliance with the U.S. Government’s Personal Identity Verification (PIV) program.

The metrics used in the tests include the Pooled 2 Fingers FNMR @ FMR≤10^-2 and Native 1 Finger FNMR @ FMR≤10^-4. The former measures the false non-match rate when two fingerprints are used at a false match rate of 0.01 percent or lower. A lower false non-match rate (FNMR) indicates better performance, as fewer legitimate matches are marked as non-matches. The latter metric evaluates the false non-match rate for a single fingerprint at a false match rate of 0.0001 percent or lower.

Omnigarde, another multimodal biometrics developer, has also shared its advancements in fingerprint recognition software. Their latest submission showcases significant improvements in comparison to their previous version across multiple metrics. The template generator error rate has been reduced by 35 percent, while the native matching error rate has been reduced by 25.74 percent.

The company emphasizes its strong relative position in the evaluation amongst U.S.-based developers.

“Omnigarde is proud of its fingerprint MINEX software’s further improvement in the MINEX III test,” says Dr. Peter Lo, founder and CEO at Omnigarde.

Niobium raises $5.5M to develop fully homomorphic encryption accelerator chip

Niobium has secured $5.5 million in venture financing to develop a specialized accelerator chip for fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). The company has focused on advancing FHE hardware for commercial applications since its inception and has successfully raised significant non-dilutive capital through federal programs over the past two years.

Homomorphic encryption is utilized to achieve unlinkability, irreversibility, and renewability for biometric template protection schemes. This encryption method allows computations to be performed in the encrypted domain.

The funding round was led by Fusion Fund, with participation from Morgan Creek Capital, Rev1 Ventures, Ohio Innovation Fund, and Hale Capital. Niobium also welcomed a new board member, Shane Wall, Fusion Fund partner and president of CXO Network.

“Fusion Fund is proud to support Niobium’s journey towards commercializing their technology, which we believe will play a crucial role in shaping the future of secure computing,” says Shane Wall, Niobium’s Chairman and Fusion Fund partner.

Niobium has developed an advanced customized silicon solution, a PCIe card based on the company’s FHE system-on-chip, that can integrate with any cloud server to significantly enhance the performance of FHE software solutions, the company says.

According to the company, this solution can improve performance by up to four orders of magnitude. Niobium intends to showcase this technology to its customers and initiate pilot programs in Q4 of 2024.

“Securing this financing validates the groundbreaking work we’re doing at Niobium and propels us into the next critical phase of bringing our FHE accelerator chip to market,” says Kevin Yoder, president and CEO of Niobium.

Ensuring data security and privacy are important factors for biometric systems. Any compromise in protection could lead to severe problems, such as identity theft and unauthorized cross-matching. To address these challenges, biometric template protection has been a field of active research. The IEEE 2410–2021 standard calls for homomorphic encryption to protect the security of biometric templates, for instance.

Biometrics providers working with homomorphic encryption include Infinity Optics, Humanode and NEC.

Biometric liveness detection platform launched by Kairos, as Brivas gets NOA for patent

Florida-based face biometrics developer Kairos has emerged from a quiet period with an identity verification platform featuring unbiased AI, selfie biometrics, liveness detection and ID document checks, according to a company announcement.

The company’s Instant Identity Verification Platform provides a bundle of algorithms that can be implemented together or separately for a variety of use cases, from KYC to bot detection. Kairos emphasizes its focus on diversity and inclusion during software development as a means of making digital identity verification available to everyone, and the unbanked in particular.

“Our platform stands out not only for its technological excellence but also for its cost-effectiveness. We are proud to offer a solution that is more affordable than any other on the market, without compromising on quality or performance. This competitive edge is crucial for businesses seeking to enhance their verification processes while managing costs effectively,” comments Al Esmail, COO of Kairos.

The company has not made any public announcements since the return of Co-founder Brian Brackeen in 2021, following a messy leadership dispute.

Brivas has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an active biometric liveness detection patent based on user gestures and flashes of color.

CEO Beau Parry says patent US patent application 17/571358 creates “one of the most comprehensive IP portfolios for active liveness detection in a variety of instances.”

The latest patent application for a “Method and apparatus for authentication of a user to a server using relative movement” is the latest continuation in a family of patents by the same name held by Brivas. It is the eights in the patent family, the seventh of which was granted at the beginning of 2022.

Biometix adds face analysis based on draft standard to biometric assessment toolbox

Biometix has developed a new biometric face analysis engine for assessing the quality of facial images, and their suitability for biometric comparison.

The engine is offered as part of BQAT, the Biometric Quality Assessment Toolbox, and is based on the OFIQ (Open Source Face Image Quality) algorithm, according to a company announcement. BQAT is available in various forms, and BQAT-CLI has just been updated to v1.6.1.

The toolbox can be used to assess the quality of biometric samples in the fingerprint, iris, face or voice modalities.

OFIQ is the reference implementation for the ISO/IEC 29794–5 draft standard, released just weeks ago. The development of OFIQ is led by Germany’s BSI.

“While the OFIQ framework is in its early stages, it marks a new step towards the standardisation of face image quality assessments,” Biometix posted to LinkedIn. “As one of the first softwares to integrate the pilot algorithm, BQAT’s new engine will allow a wider audience the first-hand opportunity to trial the OFIQ framework.”

Biometix roadmap for BQAT development indicates that a duplicate removal feature and identity removal during preprocessing are among the next tools scheduled for addition to the software toolbox.

Fingerprint Cards strikes deals for biometric wearable, IP licensing

Fingerprint Cards has signed its first-ever deal to license a patent to an organization it describes as a “major global company.”

The patent license agreement appears to relate to technology adjacent to its core focus area of biometrics.

Most of Fingerprint Cards’ 700 registered patents in its portfolio relate to biometric algorithms, image processing, sensors and hardware packaging. A small number, including the patent licensed under the new agreement, relate to “secure information aggregation,” Fingerprint Cards CEO Adam Philpott says.

“This technology enables users to seamlessly view, manage, and interact with information from various sources in a uniform manner. We’ve assessed products from various companies that we believe will require a license for this non-biometric patent portfolio, and we will continue our efforts to monetize this asset.”

The company’s New Business unit, created last July, was formed in part to take greater advantage of Fingerprint Cards’ existing intellectual property.

Interestingly, Philpott also notes that Fingerprint Cards has recently “found clear evidence that some smartphone players are using a part of our biometric patents portfolio and we will proceed with our efforts also in this area, where we see a meaningful monetization opportunity.”

Those monetization opportunities could come in the form of a new licensing agreement, or potentially legal action.

Palm-scanning Humanity Protocol emerges as new kid on the blockchain

Humanity Protocol, a new venture that relies on palm biometrics for its blockchain-based digital identity system, has announced a valuation of $1 billion in a $30 million seed funding round led by Kingsway Capital. Web3 investment companies Animoca Brands and Blockchain.com and venture firm Shima Capital also participated. Funds will support hiring and development costs ahead of a test release later in 2024.

“Identity is a fundamental right,” says text on Humanity Protocol’s website. “And in this current age of data dominance among a handful of corporations and artificial intelligence, it is under threat.”

“The world needs a truly self-sovereign identity framework that is built on first principles of inclusivity, privacy, and decentralization,” writes Terence Kwok, founder of Humanity Protocol, in a post on Medium. “Proof-of-personhood is a powerful concept but the solutions that exist today haven’t seen adoption because onboarding is invasive and high friction. Humanity Protocol fixes this. We’re creating a decentralized identity protocol that solves verifiable uniqueness and humanity in a way that protects user privacy and self-ownership of data.”

Kwok wants users to be able to check into hotels, access restricted areas and pay for purchases with their palm, while maintaining maximum control over their personal identity data.

Sumsub extends non-doc identity verification across Scandinavia

Sumsub has expanded its document-free identity verification solution (Non-Doc) to Norway and Denmark, now reaching over 2.9 billion people worldwide. Non-Doc allows for quick and secure user onboarding in as little as 4.5 seconds, using biometric or device authentication and data from authoritative sources. It is particularly useful in developing economies where traditional paper documents may be unreliable. The solution can be used throughout the user journey, and a new feature now verifies addresses using secure databases. Sumsub plans to further expand Non-Doc to other countries, aiming to cover over 95 percent of the population in Hong Kong and Ivory Coast.

ADT uses Google Nest to let in the dog walker

ADT has upgraded its ADT Plus home security system by integrating facial recognition technology from Google Nest. The new feature, “Trusted Neighbor,” allows homeowners to grant automated access to trusted individuals using facial recognition. The system recognizes familiar faces through Nest cameras and can disarm the security system, granting temporary access to the home. ADT Plus also includes smart home technologies like smart locks and sensors, controlled via the ADT Plus app.

Integrated Biometrics launches ‘smallest, lightest’ palm scanner

Integrated Biometrics has launched Mannix, the world’s smallest and lightest FBI-certified palm scanner. Designed for in-the-field use, this mobile device features smartphone connectivity and utilizes the company’s patented Zero Bezel Film (ZTX) and LES technologies for durability and high-quality image capture in various conditions. The scanner’s compact size, lightweight design, and ruggedness, combined with its ability to be powered by a mobile phone, enhance its usability.

Australia’s Northern Territory Commits to Mobile ID Pilot

The Northern Territory Government in Australia is investing $20.66 million to introduce digital IDs for smartphones. The initiative will enable residents to store their driver’s licenses and Evidence of Age cards in a digital wallet, enhancing convenience and security. The digital IDs will integrate with other government systems, including the Banned Drinker Register and NT Police devices.

While physical licenses and cards will still be available, the digital versions provide more control over information sharing with businesses. The project aligns with the government’s digital transformation plan and aims to improve access to essential services, with a pilot program expected to launch in 2025.

Bulgaria goes fully biometric in developing access control system for mass gatherings

Bulgaria is looking to ditch physical ticketing methods entirely, as it unrolls a new domestically developed biometric access control system designed for large public events. An article in Euractiv describes an effort by a government research team to develop an AI-powered biometric system to replace legacy access control methods used in public buildings and at mass events.

Under the planned system — confidently called “Rock” — fans who pre-register face or fingerprint biometrics will be able to access events without a ticket or wristband. Algorithmic scanners will also help to prevent unauthorized access, as only registered individuals will be permitted entry.

Rock is the largest of 14 Bulgarian projects related to AI under the country’s innovation and competitiveness initiative. The state-owned Fund of Funds is contributing EU money in the amount of €4.46 million (US$4.8 million) , out of a total cost of €7.38 million (US$7.9 million) for the whole project. The remainder is private investment. A technology partner is involved, but has not been made public as of yet.

These Weeks’ News by Categories

Access Control:

Mobile Biometrics:

Financial Services:

Civil / National ID:

Government Services:

Facial Recognition:

Fingerprint Recognition:

Liveness Detection:

Biometrics Industry Events

Biometrics Institute Asia-Pacific Conference: May 22, 2024 — May 23, 2024

Future Identity Customer: May 21, 2024

2024 SIA GovSummit and Women in Biometrics Awards: May 21, 2024 — May 22, 2024

ID4Africa 2024: The Annual General Meeting: May 21, 2024 — May 24, 2024

EAB Lunch Talk: Implications of the forthcoming forensic sciences standard ISO/IEC 21043 for forensic biometrics: May 21, 2024

Biometrics Institute Asia-Pacific Conference: May 22, 2024 — May 23, 2024

Digital Transformation EXPO Manchester (DTX): May 22, 2024 — May 23, 2024

12th Edition Connected Banking Summit — Innovation and Excellence Awards 2024 Southern Africa: May 23, 2024

14th Africa Bank 4.0 Summit — Pan Africa: May 29, 2024 — May 30, 2024

GITEX Africa: May 29, 2024 — May 31, 2024

ENBANTEC Cyber Security Conference and Exhibition: Jun 4, 2024

ENBANTEC Cyber Security Conference and Exhibition: Jun 4, 2024

AI & Big Data Expo North America: Jun 5, 2024 — Jun 6, 2024

Cyber Security & Cloud Congress North America: Jun 5, 2024 — Jun 6, 2024

Think Digital Identity and Cybersecurity for Government: Jun 11, 2024

FIDO Alliance user authentication interoperability testing event: Jun 17, 2024 — Jun 21, 2024

Africa Border Security Week: Jun 19, 2024 — Jun 20, 2024

The Biometrics Institute US Strategy Forum 2024: Jun 20, 2024

Mobility Payments Asia Pacific 2024: Jul 24, 2024 — Jul 26, 2024

West Africa Border Security Week: Sep 3, 2024 — Sep 4, 2024

SmartTech Asia: Sep 11, 2024 — Sep 13, 2024

Cyber Security & Cloud Expo Europe: Oct 1, 2024 — Oct 2, 2024

AI & Big Data Expo Europe: Oct 1, 2024 — Oct 2, 2024

Authenticate 2024: Oct 14, 2024 — Oct 16, 2024

Think Digital Identity for Government: Oct 24, 2024

8th Annual Privacy and Data Protection Summit: Oct 24, 2024 — Oct 25, 2024

Critical Infrastructure Protection & Resilience Europe: Nov 12, 2024 — Nov 14, 2024

East Africa Border Security Week: Nov 26, 2024 — Nov 27, 2024

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